Lily Allen is not my home girl

Only grey-haired music-press bores and Boris Johnson think this daughter of privilege is the spokesperson for my generation.

Emily Hill

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Lock up your fathers: Lily Allen is back.

The cheeky mockney-cockney pop monkee with the cod-reggae-riddims and the Tesco/al-fresco rhymes may have spent the past year doing little more than moan about press intrusion and how she feels soooo fat, as another pap snaps her failing to wear a bra the morning after the big premiere she went to/the made-for-press-pics puff-party she got drunk at the night before. But now she’s made an album and we should go out and buy it with the enthusiasm of lemmings falling off the cliff of musical decency.

Her first album, Alright, Still, soundtracked a summer. Lily does have a pretty voice and produced twinkly little pop songs about her annoying little brother and how she let a boy upset her once but then went ahead and smiled. So far, so good. But somehow old muso hacks (and Boris Johnson) rushed in to claim that not only was Lily brilliant, boasting the sort of slit-your-gizzard wit that makes Dorothy Parker look like a Mills-and-Boon-obsessed moonie, but that she is also the spokesperson for her generation – that she can give you, Pops, an insight into me, Young Whippersnapper. Lily can do this, and so can Bob Geldof’s eldest brat, Peaches. On no account should anyone in their teens and twenties who isn’t related to the celebrity-media set be approached. Who cares what they think?

Thus, when London mayor Boris Johnson wanted to sort out gangland violence amongst urban youth, he called this fair daughter of Keith Allen, whose first meanderings in song were hailed by the Observer’s Miranda Sawyer before she had even played a gig, who had the finest education money could buy, and who has probably been through Peckham once on an overland train. Lily has insight. In terms of pop, she may be a ginger wig short of Geri Halliwell – and considerably less revolutionary – but in terms of her generation, Our Lily is on the button. She is, as the Independent once put it, ‘no idle pramface’, but she is the same age as a so-called ‘idle pramface’ and so can tell Boris what to do about it all.

And she is no mere X-Factor wannabe – she is more expertly manufactured than that. Witness her new cover version of Britney Spears’ ‘Womanizer’, complete with girl-group beats, sweet Sarf London lilt and without Britters going to all the trouble of donning PVC and doing some sort of dance routine. While Britney is slammed for having little hand in her own stuff, Lily will be praised for the genius wit of covering a Britney song. It is ironic!

Next time, Boris, you want advice on urban youth from a ‘sleb’, try setting up an interview, say, with Dizzee Rascal, recently arrested over the matter of a baseball bat, rather than a middle-class white girl who, by dint of her education alone, has been insulated from the remaining 93 per cent of the population.

Anyway, none of the disgusting shamminess of it all has registered with your dad. Or young uncle. Or whichever else of your relatives wants to get down with the kids’ music and uses the Observer Music Monthly as a crib sheet. Lily was back on the cover this month with even fewer interesting things to say than first time round, when Sawyer solemnly transcribed all her vacuous soundbites with no hint of natural gag reflex: ‘The other day, her brother Alfie threw her laptop out of the window and broke it. What she was most annoyed about was the stickers she’d put on it. She’ll have to get a new one but it won’t be the same.’

This has now been followed up by an interview by Matthew d’Ancona, editor of the Spectator, in the magazine’s Christmas special. (No doubt Lily’s people have an eye on the right-wing granddad CD-buying demographic, too.) ‘For all the intellectual ambition, she is disarmingly honest about her sense of creative fraudulence’, he writes to Spectator readers busy screwing up their copies of the magazine and hiding them under a cushion because, really, what is the point anymore? D’Ancona then lets Lily explain: ‘I’m just so full of self-loathing that I don’t think that I’m any good at all… I spoke to my therapist about it, and he said all creative people he works with say the same thing. That’s the thing with creativity, it doesn’t come from being educated in something. It comes from nowhere. So you can’t really define it.’

How nauseating. But these days, now that Cheryl Cole has transformed from beauteous Toon bruiser into weeping jelly, no one is left to vocalise how much we don’t get Lily Allen, don’t want to get Lily Allen, and pray to the Lord every day that someone would take her back to the talent-vacuum factory from which she came.

Emily Hill is a reporter on the Londoner’s Diary at the Evening Standard. Visit her personal website here.

Previously on spiked

Emily Hill thought Britney and Amy should refuse rehab and being turned into Lily Allen-style pop dolls. She celebrated Amy Winehouse as the anti-Diana of 2007 and suggested that Glastonbury has become a weekend in the country for poshos. Elsewhere, she noted that Beth Ditto is more famous for her body than her music. Tom Slater rated Beck as ‘the coolest Scientologist in music. Andrew Calcutt questioned the authenticity of The Ramones. Patrick West tracked the Samsonite demise of heavy metal. Or read more at spiked issue: Music.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.

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